WICHITA — The Brickyard in Old Town is going to become a restaurant in addition to a bar this fall thanks to two retransplanted Wichitans.
"We've been having these conversations for the last 10 years or so," Drew Thompson says of himself and Travis Russell, a buddy from back at North High School.
"We were at the point we were either going to do it or not."
Thompson is a lawyer in Seattle. Russell is an adjunct fine art professor in the St. Louis area who has spent years in the restaurant business. His parents, Mark and Joni Russell, own the Brickyard and Mrs. O'Leary's Mercantile next door.
Thompson and Russell are returning to Wichita to open Public at the Brickyard, a type of gastro pub that will be open for brunch, lunch and dinner.
"What we envision it to be is a communal restaurant," Russell says. "Our plan is to really include local vendors."
Thompson says, "Quality ingredients is the key."
They plan dishes such as gourmet grilled pizzas with homemade dough and smoked chicken and waffles. Russell likes putting twists on traditional dishes, such as using tomato marmalade for a BLT.
They'll be able to seat about 200 inside and more in the courtyard in nice weather.
The two are just beginning renovations, which will include the addition of a lot of architecture salvage pieces. For instance, Russell says they scored maple flooring from a former brewery in St. Louis to make new table tops.
"It's going to be a pretty intense transformation in the next 30 days."